Scientists in the US have developed an electronic patch that can monitor the heart and detect signs of disease, such as an irregular rhythm, before they cause serious problems.
The ultra-thin patch — dubbed an “e-tattoo” because it looks like a temporary tattoo sticker — has two wired sensors built into the design that continuously measure two functions of the heart.
It can perform both an electrocardiogram (ECG) to monitor heart rhythm and electrical activity, and a seismocardiogram (SCG), which measures the vibrations generated by heart valves as they open and close when the heart beats.
The e-tattoo, which is about the size of a credit card, is the first mobile device that can perform both tests, allowing the heart’s electrical and mechanical functions to be checked simultaneously.
The developers, from the University of Texas at Austin, say it could be a major boost in tackling heart disease by detecting problems early, when they are much easier to treat.
Scientists in the US have developed an electronic adhesive patch that can monitor the heart and detect signs of disease, such as an irregular rhythm, before they cause serious problems
In the UK, for example, it is estimated that there are more than 300,000 people with undetected atrial fibrillation (AF), a common heart rhythm disorder that increases the risk of stroke.
The e-tattoo could also be offered to people with symptoms of heart disease, such as nausea, heartburn and sweating.
Traditional treatments that really work. This week: Olive oil massage for arthritis pain
A 2012 study in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology compared olive oil massage to the use of Piroxicam gel (an anti-inflammatory pain reliever) in 58 people with osteoarthritis of the knee — and found a 3-fold greater reduction in pain in the olive oil group after four weeks.
Ali Mobasheri, Professor of Musculoskeletal Physiology at the University of Surrey, explains: ‘Olive oil contains anti-inflammatory ingredients that can penetrate the skin. This, plus the action of massage, can help improve circulation and affect the pressure nerves involved in pain.”
“If we can have continuous, mobile monitoring at home, we can perform early diagnosis and treatment, and if possible, 80 percent of heart disease could be prevented,” said Nanshu Lu, a professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering. and engineering mechanics, where the device was developed.
Currently, patients with suspected heart disease are checked in the hospital or are given cumbersome devices to use at home. The e-tattoo is less obtrusive and more comfortable to wear.
And while smart watches can perform an EKG, so far they cannot perform an SCG, which is normally checked with a stethoscope. When these two tests are combined, they provide vital information about how efficiently the heart is pumping blood.
The data collected by the e-tattoo is sent via Bluetooth to an app, which can be viewed by the patient’s medical team.
The e-tattoo itself is attached to the chest like a medical bandage – and is powered by a very small battery, which lasts about 40 hours and can be easily replaced by the user.
So far, researchers have tested the patch on five healthy men in their 20s and found it had a low error rate compared to other available monitoring options, the journal Advanced Electronic Materials reported in April. Larger studies are planned.
“Our work shows that e-tattoos on the chest have the potential to eventually become a medical, long-term, ambulatory cardiovascular monitoring tool,” the researchers said.
In the UK there are estimated to be more than 300,000 people with undetected atrial fibrillation (AF), a common heart rhythm disorder that increases the risk of stroke (File image)
Chris Gale, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Leeds, said: ‘The technology for continuous monitoring of a person’s heart rate is developing at an astonishing rate.
Mathematicians at the University of Sussex have devised the formula for men reaching sexual climax.
Using data from the male arousal cycle in 10,000 men, they found that too much psychological arousal early in the process can inhibit the likelihood of climax, so “don’t overthink it,” the researchers said.
“Small, non-intrusive wearables like this, which allow heart rate monitoring over long periods of time, will enable the detection and diagnosis of many more arrhythmias and provide reassurance to patients who may have symptoms but still have a normal heart rate.” ‘
n Measuring a stress hormone in hair can reveal whether you’re at risk for heart disease, according to a study presented at the European Congress on Obesity last month.
It found that people with higher levels of cortisol in their hair were twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack in the next seven years as those with lower levels.
According to the study, this rose to more than three times as likely in those aged 57 or younger.
Stress hormones, which are easily detected in hair because cortisol is absorbed into hair as it grows, are thought to affect the body’s metabolism and fat distribution and could play a role in heart disease.
Tires and brake pads can make asthma worse
Can living next to a busy intersection be bad for asthma?
British researchers are investigating the link between ‘non-exhaust’ air pollution – caused by tiny particles from wear and tear on vehicle tires and brake pads – and asthma symptoms.
The 48 patients participating in the trial will be exposed to three different environments: a high-speed highway (with high tire wear emissions), a busy intersection (with high brake pad emissions), and a location further away from traffic.
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London will compare breath test results from each location to see how these environments affect participants’ asthma symptoms.
Caffeine can stop delirium after surgery
Caffeine is being tested as a way to stop delirium after surgery. In a new trial at the University of Michigan, about 250 patients are given a 30-minute infusion of caffeine or a placebo after their surgery.
Doctors will then compare the rates of postoperative delirium one and two days later. Delirium after surgery becomes more common with age.
Symptoms include agitation and mood swings, hallucinations, slurred speech, and difficulty concentrating. The cause is not yet known, but one theory is that the high levels of inflammation that result from surgery interfere with brain function.
It’s thought that caffeine can “reset the brain’s processing power” by speeding up communication between our brain cells.
Secrets of an A-List body
This week: Kylie Minogue’s legs
Australian singer Kylie Minogue showed off her toned legs in a photo she recently posted to Instagram (below).
The 55-year-old says she stays in shape with Pilates and treadmill training — but nothing too fast. “In my family we say, ‘Minogues don’t run away.’ But we like to walk, so that works for me,” she says.
WHAT TO TRY: Sit-to-stands are the perfect way to tone the entire leg and buttocks.
Stand in front of a chair, facing away from it, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Sit down slowly, take a deep breath, then push back up through your feet to stand without using your hands.
Try the same move on one leg. Repeat 15 times to activate the legs, then take a short but brisk walk to raise your heart rate and improve your cardiovascular health.